The worldís best athletes have proven time and time again that they don't have to take steroids to achieve the highest level of performance. Eleven truth-revealing facts shed light on the reality of t

By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 2002
1. Bodybuilders, Powerlifters and Athletes from Mainstream Sports Are Not All the Same

Bodybuilders donít run, jump or score goals. Powerlifters are interested in only three things: the squat, bench, and deadlift. Training programs for athletes, bodybuilders and powerlifters are as different as night and day. Steroids are often purchased illegally through bodybuilders at gyms. Do steroids work on bodybuilders? Sure they do. And thatís the problem. An unsuspecting athlete in a mainstream sport such as baseball goes to a gym and takes advice---maybe to take steroids---from a guy who just stands and flexes. Why would you do that? It doesnít make sense.
Powerlifters donít stretch for speed and jumping power. They donít work on agility. Do steroids work for them? Again, yes---same problem. An unsuspecting athlete in a mainstream sport such as baseball might look at a guy with a 600-pound bench press and figure that this guy can really help him. The chances are not very great that will happen. Why? Simple
---training a baseball player encompasses a variety of areas a powerlifter or a bodybuilder is just not familiar with. Itís as if you are at a piano. You have to play this complex piece and your advisor has you strike one note with one finger over and over again. It isnít pretty, and it doesnít get
the job done.
2. Steroids = Roller Coaster Ride

Most people, at first, get a great high and a great rush of quick strength when they take steroids. This happens because of the increased testosterone intake. Letís say a teen athlete is 6-1, 190 pounds, with a bench press max of 250 pounds. And this teen decides to take some steroid pills, just one three-week dosage. In four weeks, he has gained 25 pounds of weight and benched 290 pounds. Wow! He is on fire. You canít tell him steroids donít work.
This teen had heard about steroids and their dangers but he thought he would just take one cycle and stop. Certainly that couldnít hurt and he would get some fast gains. However, by the sixth week, this same teen has lost 10 of those 25 pounds and his bench is now 275 pounds. His workouts are all screwed up because he cannot lift the amount of weight called for by his workout plan. His breasts start hurting a little. His bodybuilding friend just laughs and says, ďDonít worry, man. Happens all the time.Ē You see, when you inject a bunch of testosterone in your body, it stops producing its own testosterone. Estrogen, the female hormone, is naturally produced in small quantities in males but that starts to take over and your breasts start enlarging like a womanís. Hormones are very powerful and can have dramatic effects. Some men who take large amounts of estrogen do so to become more like a woman. Women who take testosterone (steroids) will become more like a man.
Our teen is depressed, so he decides to take another dose. He gets another jolt of strength and weight but this time it is not as dramatic. His bodybuilding friend advises him to get more sophisticated by changing to a variety of steroids and increasing dosages. He even shows the teen how to inject himself with a needle. But just to show that he is responsible, he tells the teen that he should never share a needle because of the risk of AIDS and all.
The teen is really into the strength and size thing after three months. He neglects his stretching and sprint drills. He spends 12 hours a week in the gym. This teen is really dedicated. Overall his strength and weight gains have been good but he is never really consistent. One day his bench is up and the other day it is down. His other lower-body lifts have not gone up as dramatically.
Later in the year, our teen enrolls in college as a walk-on. He is scared he might get tested so he quits the juice for a while. He tells the strength coach he can bench 350 but when he maxes out for him, he can do only 315. His excuse to his coach is that he has a sore shoulder. Our sophisticated teen goes back to the gym to fix his problem. His bodybuilding friend tells him not to worry and confides that he had started out with only 20 milligrams a day but now he can handle 500 milligrams with no problem. Steroids are not unlike any other drug. The user can become a loser. In this case, are steroids working for this teen as a baseball player? How about as a person? As a student?

3. Super Great
Gains Can Be Made with Intelligence, Intensity and Persistence

The BFS Program has been well thought out and extensively tested. Any teen and any athlete in their twenties can break eight or more personal records every week: week after week, month after month. There are no ups and downs. Consistent improvement in speed, agility and jumping records can be made. There is absolutely no reason to take steroids. Giant gains can be made without them. Unfortunately, many people do not believe this. Recently a semi-documentary TV show called ďFlippedĒ aired, trying to send a message to athletes to not take steroids. But at the end, the featured athlete said, ďI wonít do steroids even though it will be ten times harder. The showís message then became the opposite of the showís intent. The steroid myth was perpetuated.
A great strength coach can create a positive intensity. When you are surrounded by teammates in the school weight room who have a common goal, you can make greater gains than by working by yourself in a gym, even if you have a personal trainer. Same thing on the practice field or during the game: your teammates and you can create an incredibly intense atmosphere.
Those athletes who are persistent and consistent without steroids and do the secret will soon surpass the steroid user as measured by athletic performance. One final thought on consistency: many people donít even train when they are on the juice.

4. Uncontrolled Aggressiveness is BAD!

Many people on steroids enjoy physical confrontations. I would suppose gang members might take steroids for that reason. But, you say, isnít that good for football or for being aggressive at the plate to hit a home run? This holds true only up to a point. An athlete must have a controlled psyche. When you are out of control, you make mistakes or you can get thrown out of a game. This obviously contributes to losing, not winning. A football player has a lot to think about to be successful during any play. On offense it starts with correct alignment and the snap count. On defense it starts with recognizing the formation and certain tendencies. A baseball player with uncontrolled aggressiveness will strike out. Crazy doesnít cut it.
Hey, if Iíve spent hundreds of hours training with natural intensity, and then someone tries to take my position from me or to take away my win from me, theyíre going to be in for one heck of a fight. I donít need steroids for aggressiveness. Iíve paid my dues.
Did Jose Canseco experience these side effects?
First, letís look at his propensity to strike out. Although in 1988 he seemed to be learning to select his pitches more carefully, by the 1990s his strikeouts were more frequent than ever. Consider this: Was he overly aggressive? Was he often mad at the plate instead of relaxed and confident? From his behavior I believe there is a strong possibility that steroids contributed to Joseís dismal strikeout record.
Second, Jose has always been outspoken. He clashed with the Oakland management and was frequently kept on the bench. Finally, Jose was traded to the Texas Rangers during the 1992 season. From then on, he was traded every two years. Stability is a component of long-term success both in a career and in family life. Jose was married and has a daughter. I believe the constant moving from one part of the nation to the other played a role in Joseís decline, from both an athletic and a family point of view.
Third, and most telling, are three documented incidents of violence. In 1992, Jose was charged

Could Jose Canseco's admitted steroid use (CNNSI & AP Report) have contributed to his aggressive behavior, domestic abuse and strikeout percentage?

"I am confident that Barry Bonds' exceptionally great batting technique is all his own. Barry sets up the same way every time. Most guys can't do that. - Tony Gwynn

Bonds record indicates he is not on steroids. He plays in almost all of his available games: he is not injury prone. He is patient at the plate and not aggressive to the point of being out of controll. Unlike many ohter power hitters, Barry does not strike out often and has far more walks than anyone else in the league, including a record 51 intentional walks.

The point of no return does not apply in bodybuilding, powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting. For example, if you have a 19-inch arm and you are a serious bodybuilder, you want a 21-inch arm. Above, Gregg Valentino shows his enormous 27" arm.

Clearly, for Jose Canseco as for so many other athletes, steroids failed to enhance performance and led instead to the demise of a once promising career.